Are Traders Chartering Supertankers to Store Crude?
Oil trading companies have chartered around fifteen supertankers in January, possibly to take advantage of slumping oil prices and store crude for future sale, Platts reports. The chartered supertankers have the storage capacity of around 30 million barrels.
These very large and ultra large crude carriers are expected to operate mostly in Singapore and the Persian Gulf, with an option for storage.
A certain number of these supertankers may be used for trading crude, while others “may have disappeared quietly from the market [for storage],” a VLCC broker in Singapore told Platts.
Another positive for this type of floating storage is the willingness of ship owners to agree on time charters which are about 50% lower in price than the current spot rates, according to Platts.
The current rates for VLCCs on a Persian Gulf-North Asia route are about USD 69,000/day, while the rates in the time charter market span between USD 33,500 and USD 37,500 per day.
Another shipbroker told Platts that ship owners agree on long-term charters at lower rates in fear that the current rates are not sustainable, and will decline due to the refinery maintenance season in March.